Will it finally be Cayetano to DFA despite Arroyo’s objection?

Pres.Duterte and Sen Alan Peter Cayetano in the Presidential plane returning from a state visit to Malaysia on Nov. 11, 2016. With them is Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go. Malacañang photo by Robinson Niñal Jr.

It looks like Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano will finally be the foreign secretary come May when the one-year election ban for those who ran in the last elections would expire.

Although the President reiterated last December his offer to his running mate made last May after the elections, no one was sure given the unpredictability of the hazy political alignments in the Senate where the brashness of Cayetano might be needed.

There’s also the possibility of Vice President Leni Robredo getting disqualified together with the rest who ran under the Liberal Party if the Supreme Court decides that the Commission on Election erred in extending the deadline for the filing of the Statement of (Elections) Contributions and Expenditures.

If and when that happens, the President would have to appoint a vice president from members of Congress. Cayetano, sources said, would like to be in a vantage position.

Also, sources close to Malacañang said former President Gloria Arroyo and her husband, Mike, have expressed their opposition to Cayetano being given the country’s top diplomat post.

Arroyo’s husband has not forgiven the former Taguig-Pateros Representative for his exposé in 2007 about his (Mike) alleged secret account in HypoVereinsbank in Munich containing multi million dollars.

Arroyo’s bank account in Germany was never proven nor disproven but it got Cayetano elected as senator.

Even as he continues to protect Duterte’s interest in the Senate, Cayetano has been preparing for the foreign secretary position. He has been part of the official delegation in all the President’s foreign trips earning for himself the title as “presumptive foreign secretary” among members of the presidential foreign visit staff.

That’s why it’s a puzzle why the President still submitted the name of Yasay to the Commission on Appointments if Cayetano would be taking over at the DFA in two months.

Yasay must be regretting the day he aspired to be a full-fledged foreign secretary that required him to go through the CA.

Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr. faces perjury charges on his claim of Filipino citizenship.

It must be that he was enjoying the perks of being foreign secretary even if he never got to have a good grasp of the complex foreign policy issues. Maybe he believed that with the President’s clout, he can get away with questions about his citizenship.

Yasay should realize by now that Presidential spokesperson Sec. Ernesto Abella’statement about his explanation as “ very credible, and logical, reasonable “ is just a face-saver.

The issue on his citizenship is so serious because he is actually stateless. He has renounced his American citizenship but he has not officially re-acquired Philippine citizenship.

It is doubtful if he can be given another position in the Duterte administration. Not even the position of ambassador to the United States which, sources said, he is interested in.

In his March 3 column in the Philippine Star, former Foreign Secretary Roberto R. Romulo brought up again other issues against Yasay which have been previously mentioned in media that dampen his prospect of being sent to U.S. as ambassador.

Romulo wrote: “And now a trail of legal woes has surfaced. He has a pending case for syndicated estafa when he was a chief legal counsel of the now defunct Banco Filipino.

“He had a string of cases in the US involving tax liabilities and delayed payment filed by the government of New York City and New York State.

“ According to LexisNexis, there have been in the New York City Judgement and Lien Filings as follows: on Oct. 17, 1994, a NY City tax warrant of $3,620.99; $3,620.00 for a case filed on Sept. 20, 1993 against debtors Perfecto Yasay and Sherida Yasay by Citicorp Mortgage Inc.; on June 23, 1993 the NY State Dept. of Taxation & Finance for the amount of $5,332.41; on Jan. 25, 1993, the NY State Tax Commission filed for $589. I merely copied the pertinent details and cannot confirm guilt or innocence, but clearly it is an indication of the condemnable habit of delayed payments.”

(Asked to comment on Romulo’s column, Yasay said: “ I have no comment to make as I do not want to dignify his malicious and base remarks. I do not think he knows what he is talking about. So unbecoming of one who thinks he is a good and experienced diplomat. But I wish him all the best.”)

A reliable source said, after Juan Manuel (Babe) Romualdez declined the position for health reasons, it is back to retired ambassador Marciano Paynor, Jr whom the President announced to be ambassador to the U.S. August last year, but for unexplained reason also offered the same position to Romualdez.

Paynor, who is pre-occupied with ASEAN 2017 as the director-general for operations, “will probably present his credentials in Washington D.C.and then come back for ASEAN 2017 until the summit in November,” the source said.


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